Failure of ruling elites
I found Stephen Reicher’s reconceptualising of the ‘immigrant problem’ as ‘the labour flow problem’ extremely useful and coherent (‘The rules of unruliness’, November 2017). He suggested: ‘…if you bring people…into a particular place, there has got to be infrastructure for them, there has got to be the jobs, there has got to be the social ways, there has got to be the hospitals and the housing. It’s a problem of managing labour flow.’ Had this analysis been accepted and acted upon by the government, this could have transformed the antipathy to immigrants in full employment areas; one of the key factors underpinning the Brexit vote.
What I look forward to now is another economically literate psychologist who can explore the other major issue confronting developed societies: What are we going to do for people in those areas where occupations have been lost or downgraded by globalisation?
The great philosopher of history Arnold Toynbee (1889–1975) postulated that what legitimised those who rule us is their creativeness in addressing the problems of the day. It is undoubtedly the failure of ruling elites to seek reformulations of our pressing underlying problems in a way in which they might be solved that has produced Brexit for the British and Trump for the USA. Sadly, the stable door has now been shut.
Dr Hugh McCredie
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